The unspoken yearning that brings people to therapy is often that of a desperate desire for happiness. Should therapists ignore this desire, interpret it or challenge it? And what does our preoccupation with happiness tell us about contemporary culture and the role of the therapist?

In this book, Emmy van Deurzen addresses the taboo subject of the moral role of psychotherapists and counselors. Asking when and why we decided that the aim of life is to be happy, she poses searching questions about the meaning of life. Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness seeks to define what a good life consists of and how therapists might help their clients to live well rather than just in search of happiness.

This text makes stimulating reading for all trainee and practicing counselors and psychotherapists, especially those interested in the existential approach.

The Good Life: Philosophy as a Guide to Therapy

The good life: Philosophy as a guide to therapy

He'd agonised for a year and more, searched for the truth about himself and his future.

A decision had gradually formed and broken through his indecision.

(Henning Mankell, The Man who Smiled: 25)

Having argued that psychotherapy may have an important role to play in enabling people to live better lives, we need to consider what a better life would consist of and how it could be achieved. What are the parameters of good living that are appropriate and workable for people in a post-modern or virtual society? What are the realistic values that therapy can deliver with confidence in a new age of constant change where our point of reference ...

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